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Sompteuse offensive hongroise á La Roque d'Anthéron
Balazs Szokolay a illuminé le festival de piano dont la riche
programmation se poursuit jusqu'au 22 août
" Balazs Szokolay s'est imposé par la volubilité de son jeu et la somptuosité de ses couleurs "

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Brian Hunt (CLASSIC CD, November 1995)


CLEMENTI
Sonatas Op. 24 No. 2(1988), Op. 25 Nos. 2 and 5 (1791); Sonatina Op. 37 No. 2; 6 Progressive Sonatinas Op. 36 (1797-1920) Balázs Szokolay (piano) Naxos 8.550452 71:07 DDD


Balázs Szokolay is one of the supreme colourists among today's pianists. If you haven't heard his previous Naxos discs of Grieg's lyric Pieces (8.550557 and 8.550650) do not hesitate to treat yourself. In some ways this Clement recital is a truer test of the young Hungarian's musical mettle, as the almost orchestral range of sonority he displays In Crieg would be quite out of place.
To say he passes the test is an understatement. His playing is constantly illuminating, never out of scale, never indulgent, yet full of subtle gradations of tone and hue. The F sharp minor sonata, Op. 25 No. 5, is given a Beethovenian gravity by his immersion in the music and attention to detail: the precise, balance of chords, the pulse of inner rhythms.
Naxos's recording is rather brittle and close, but soon forgotten in the presence of such artistry.

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Bartók Allegro Barbaro; Three Hungarian Folksongs; 15 Hungarian Peasant Songs; Sonatina; Three Rondos on Slovak Folktunes; Mikrokosmos (selection); Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm. Balázs Szokolay (Naxos 8.550451 -about 5)

THE RESULT of last weekend's Leeds Piano Competition may have been controversial (no those who mutter discontentedly about the 1990 result, in which the Hungarian Balázs Szokolay was placed no higher than fourth.
Few pianists of his generation (he was born in 1961) could dream of the vast range of colours, shades and sonorities he has at his disposal. For this sort of painting with light one has to go back to Gieseking - and Gieseking rarely commanded the sort of philharmonic climaxes that Szokolay can release.
The longest piece here (by some margin) is the Molto adagio mesto from Mikrokosmos, at four minutes, four seconds; the shortest is 13 seconds. Yet Szokolay brings intricate care to each of these introspective miniatures, making them glow with lyrical warmth or blaze with gipsy fire.
The recording is poor, with the microphones much too close to the piano. For the most part this falls to distract sound eventually becomes fatiguing in the louder numbers.

Readers experiencing difficulty obtaining this disc may like to try mail order through MDT Classics (0332 368251)

25th Sept. 1993

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“The most inspired musician is not necessarily the best competitor. At Leeds, for example, the Polish pianist, Piotr Anderszewski, intrigued the audience by devoting by far the greater part of his semi-final recital programme to Beethoven's Diabelli Variations...
...My own favourite among the semifinalists is the 29-year-old Hungarian Balázs Szokolay, pupil of Pál Kadosa, Zoltán Kocsis and György Kurtág (no less), son of the composer Sándor Szokolay, and a real musician...”


“…If you love the piano you mostly love Liszt. After all this landscape of rocks and stone of Bartok Szokolay, suddenly without any warning at all, went announced by the programme into a shattering performance of Liszt's Seventh Hungarian Rhapsody. The effect was like being in the Sahara and then catapulted into the lush pastures of a Hungarian landscape. All listeners sometimes long for Bartok to go the limit and give us zigeuner music in full force. With the Liszt piece Szokolay did just this and his concert virtually exploded into a riot of colour, tone and tempo which took me breath away .This ended a never to be forgotten evening…”

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„…A koncert külön élményét nyújtotta Szokolay Balázs, az inspirált és
inspiráló,teljes értéku partner…, aki most természetes gesztussal remekelt. Nem is tudom, zongorázása mikor volt elegánsabb: a Beethoven-variációk kristályos hangon pergo replikáiban vagy az ellenpontos szerkezetet plasztikusan felmutató, élénk-rugalmas ritmussal megszólaltatott Bach-zenékben...”

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„…He is a fiery pianist, with class, panache, and a mercurial element to his playing that was almost unmatched in the whole pro-gramme. His playing in solo recital was dazzling, dangerous, and tremendously exciting…”

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